“IN THE BEGINNING”
November 26, 2006
Greetings and salutations! It’s Andy Gesner and the staff from HIP Video Promo, proud to bring you another must-see video. For the past three years, we’ve had the great pleasure of working with Vice Recordings to spread the word about The Stills. And that’s been a pretty easy job, because The Stills are such a memorable and notable band that we always can count on them to attract plenty of attention to themselves. Still, having a ringside seat for their evolution has been nothing short of wonderful. Since the release of the Rememberese EP in ’02, they’ve become one of the most reliably exciting alt-rock bands on the touring circuit, grown immensely as musicians and songwriters, expanded to a quintet by adding a permanent organist, and put out two full-lengths that will stand as decade landmarks. The first, Logic Will Break Your Heart, established The Stills as emigrant masters of the Brooklyn rock-revival trend. The second, Without Feathers, is a timeless and often gorgeous record that transcends any scene or movement.
We expect Without Feathers will top plenty of “best of 2006” lists (Logic Will Break Your Heart appeared on many back in ’03). After conquering NYC, The Stills returned to their native Montreal, shuffled their lineup a bit, and crafted this poised and pastoral follow-up. Drawing inspiration from Neil Young, Tupelo Honey-era Van Morrison, and the Kinks, singer/guitarists Tim Fletcher and Dave Hamelin have boldly upended all expectations for their band by delivering a 1970s-style classic. It wouldn’t have worked if the band wasn’t so musically accomplished and imaginative: the drumbeats and percussion-work on Without Feathers are astonishingly inventive, the six-strings manage to be simultaneously huge and deft, and new organist Liam O’Neil streaks through the album with Leslie speakers blazing. There are even horn arrangements on “It Takes Time” and “Destroyer”, and fellow enterprising Canadian Emily Haines (of Metric and The Soft Skeleton) drops by to duet with Hamelin on “Baby Blues”.
Then again, perhaps we shouldn’t have been surprised, since The Stills have always thought big. Their lyrics are expressions of gigantic themes: stars, wide skies, fears of apocalypse, brilliant hopes. Without Feathers adds a hallucinatory strain to the band’s poetry. On “In The Beginning”, the kickoff track, Hamelin shoots the works: he invokes tornadoes, fireballs, the sun and the rain, and steps back to observe the world as it spins on its poles. It’s a band autobiography in the guise of cosmology (or maybe it’s the other way around), and the group summons a majestic, shimmering verse and chorus to support the towering narrative.
As the Stills have become one of the most reliably musical bands in modern rock – releasing song after song of immense compositional nuance – it stands to reason that a video for “In The Beginning” would focus on the group in action. And it does: the clip begins with a shot of a solitary guitar, and then the camera moves back to capture the band in a small rehearsal space. They play with tremendous energy and commitment, focusing on their performances, and visibly listening to each other. But there’s also a representation of the feeling of listening to “In The Beginning” and Without Feathers: a man and woman, simply dressed, soaring high through the air at exhilarating speed. The clip alternates between shots of the band and footage of the levitating couple, and there’s a strong suggestion that it’s The Stills who are casting this spell: that their concentration and collective vibe is powerful enough to send their fans airborne.
There is nobody we can count on more than Jamie Farkas, Adam Shore and the entire Vice team to consistently bring us the best music from the hottest bands. The Stills have spent the better part of 2006 on the road and you can bet that they will be passing through a town near you soon. If you would like to set up any video interviews or simply want to get your hands on Without Feathers for on-air giveaways, give us a shout. If you need more info call Andy Gesner at 732-613-1779, or email [email protected]. You can also visit or www.TheStills.net to find out more about The Stills.
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For info on the previous Stills’ video, “Destroyer”, click HERE
For info on the previous Stills’ video, “Lola Stars And Stripes”, click HERE